Last time I wrote about xenophobia – a nasty trait in us threatening our civilization even our presence on this earth. Now I want to write about Philoxenia – i.e. the eagerness to help and take care of “others.”
Xenophobia, does not have to be with us, in fact, we have to get rid of it. After all, we have flourished as social beings on this earth for millenniums. We cooperated, we formed bands, and using together our genius and industry, we ended up walking on the moon and we are now preparing for the stars. We cared and still care for each other, we display compassion and affection, we practiced altruism and still do. I, personally, witness daily by the spontaneous offered unsolicited help by kind strangers to me in my physical difficulty (I am double amputee walking with prostheses). There is also usually a quick and often massive response in physical disasters by nations and institutions helping the victims no matter where they occur. Where cooperation and kindness have prevailed, we ended up conquering the earth, thanks to our sociality and philoxenia. As a result we multiplied, we defeated diseases, overcome famines and natural catastrophes, we now live longer and better, the majority of us prosper and enjoy life. Where in the world xenophobia came from? This nasty trait in fact expresses itself in violent acts by individuals rather rarely (we loose 40,000 in car accidents and another 40,000 in gun related events yearly in our country, in comparison to a few hundred by individual massive killers.) But when distressed groups steered in their anger and fanaticism by malevolent charismatic leaders reach a critical mass, then they become as a group massive killers. It ends up repeatedly in a calamity for the whole humanity. This trait of xenophobia is band together with yet another one, equally nasty; the aggressive territoriality, are embedded in our human nature expressing themselves from time to time, to our grief and suffering. Together they carry a bunch of supporting practices by our institutions and leaders along with tribal narratives – like exceptional-ism and specialness. These narratives are sustaining these nasty traits in their irrationality, adding to our vows and suffering while threatening us with extinction.
What is their origin? Undoubtedly they must have provided a survival value for our species back there, in the Savannah grasslands as we were roaming as small bands competing for land and food with other bands and wild predators for untold millenniums. We will never know for sure. But no longer! These traits are now not only obsolete in their usefulness but outright dangerous since the sticks and javelins of old, have now been morphed into atomic bombs. We have no choice. We must modify or sideline them or they will sideline us. We are left with only one guideline for our survival; the golden rule: Do to others what you want to do to you, and the inverse; don’t do to others what you don’t want them to do to you. We have to do it soon. Problems are pilling up demanding collective efforts and cooperation; we already have made progress, as the various international agreements for pressing problems show. We have the genius and altruism and rationality and cooperation: The philloxenia. These qualities define our humanity in spite of the defects mentioned. We can do it given time, but time is what we may not have.